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Home » Coronavirus » Mutant COVID-19 coronavirus type. Will vaccines still work against it? 4
Mutant COVID-19 coronavirus type. Will vaccines still work against it? 4
Right now, there’s a lot of discussion about the new mutant COVID-19 virus discovered in the UK. But you know, it’s probably spread around the world by now. What do you think is the likelihood that the vaccines will have to be modified and people need re-immunized against a new mutant coronavirus? Or the feeling right now in the scientific community that vaccines will continue to work around various mutations of SARS-CoV-2? Because so many millions of people worldwide were infected, and nevertheless, the coronavirus virus has not shown a significant change in its activity?
Yeah, first, some words about the mutation, which mainly occurred in the southeast part of Great Britain and other European countries. And I know data from Denmark, the Netherlands, Belgium, and now Germany. We see these mutants; they are also in continental Europe. However, they did not spread in continental Europe. And one of the main reasons for this may be that under lockdown conditions, these mutants do not have a chance to overcome the classical SARS-CoV-2 virus strains. And in the UK, when these new mutations of coronavirus had appeared, they were out of lockdown. So this could have forced the spread of the mutant COVID-19 strain. What we know about the mutant coronavirus type at the moment is it may be better transmissible. But it’s not more viral and not more pathogenic. And it could be that it is less pathogenic. This is something that always occurs with virus mutants. They lose strength. From mutation to mutation, viruses lose virulence and pathogenicity. Viruses become better adapted to the host, to us. This is something that would be a good message for the whole pandemic.
About the vaccine, this is a kind of Nobel Prize question. So most of the vaccines or all vaccines are focused on the SARS-CoV-2 binding protein, and mainly on the spike protein from SARS-CoV-2. This is a big molecule, which has a lot of different epitopes. And at the moment, these mutations did not affect all the epitopes. So it’s more likely that the coronavirus vaccine still will work. However, it could be less effective if you look at how mRNA vaccines have been developed. If there are strong virus mutants, which are the most important ones for the future, you could adapt the mRNA vaccine to the new kind of mutant coronavirus. But you will lose time. So this will need another three months to four months to come up with a new coronavirus vaccine. This is easy with mRNA technology, which is more focused on the current mutant coronavirus strain.
Well, that’s very important! Just to make sure that the fact that there is a lot of discussions about the new coronavirus mutations, whether they spread out of lockdown or during the lockdown. Nevertheless, it does not; it should not distract people from the main message that if the coronavirus vaccine is available to people, they should get vaccinated because the safety data is quite good. That’s what we know.
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